Hello Luke, how is life in Toronto as an artist?
I consider myself very lucky to be working in a city like Toronto. There is such a vibrant and supportive artistic community here. The city is alive with many regular indoor and outdoor opportunities to show your work, meet other artists and connect with collectors.
Do you come from a family of artists?
I grew up in a family that appreciated the arts in its many forms: music, dance, film, painting and literature. As a direct result of this upbringing, I have always been very attuned to culture and self-expression through these lenses. Painting allows me a creative outlet much needed. One where I can share stories from my life while remaining somewhat obscure about the private details, replacing my previous outlet of journaling. The hard edge abstract style I’ve adopted has a language to it.
What are some special characteristics of your style?
My work is very graphic with an intentional purpose of celebrating structure, order, and a dedication to the very minute details of life. There is certainly a strong focus on my part to put everything in its place. I hope that the stillness of the work provides moments of contemplation and meditation to those who engage with it.
Why hard edge and geometric abstraction?
My art practice came from a need to reconcile my feelings towards memories and key events from my life. It was an extension to journaling when this no longer fulfilled me. Hard edge abstraction afforded me the opportunity to speak in a coded language – one where I’m able to address my feelings towards these private and personal memories without having to reveal much of the details. Maintaining this privacy then allows for the viewer to put aside my experiences and apply their story with their own unique details – something which I strongly encourage.
Do you have any artistic role models or inspirations?
Being a self-taught artist who began my practice later in life I’m inspired by the same. Those artists who carved out a distinct style on their own terms and on their own timeline always provide me with hope and inspiration. None more famous than Henri Rousseau.
How would you proceed with your career if you were at the beginning again?
I would have started my artistic practice much earlier in life. While I have been working quietly on my own for nearly 20 years, it wasn’t until early 2020 that I made the decision to go public with my work.
Which of your own art pieces is your favorite and why?
“The Difficulty of Navigating Family Relationships” (editor’s note: see picture no. 1) remains one of my favourite pieces. One reason is that I’m simply happy with how it turned out. More importantly, is that it remains one of the more deeply personal pieces I’ve created to date. The piece is filled with numerous references to family situations – both good and difficult ones to remember.
Would you be interested in collaborating with other artists?
I have not collaborated with any other artists at this time. However, I certainly have thought about it on more than one occasion. I would be open to a conversation if it felt like a good match that would produce good work. For now, I believe it may be a bit too early for me – something I might like to pursue more seriously in the future.
Your goals for the future?
I continue to study colour theory, texture development, and the use of mixed media materials. Researching ways to add new materials like pastels, oil stick, collage and even greater texture elements are the possibilities that excite me the most. I’m exploring all these as a means to push the boundaries of balance, emphasis, movement and proportion to what I’m currently doing. I’m very excited to arrive at where this effort will eventually take my work.
Luke Labelle-Stackhouse ★ Artist resume
My artistic journey began modestly nearly 20 years ago as simply an impassioned hobby – with no real plan for what I ultimately wanted to do. This interest, along with a desire for ever more knowledge, grew steadily. Leaning on the influences of several key Canadian artists whose work I greatly admire: Guido Molinari (Canadian, 1933-2004), Agnes Martin (American, 1912-2004) and Jonathan Forrest (Canadian, b.1962) I began slowly to develop my own practice. It was not until early 2020 that I decided to dedicate myself full-time to this practice.
Thanks a lot, Luke.